The Tips That Bind

December 15, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 1 Comment
  It’s raining.  Not hard–not at the moment.  It was earlier, however, and it will again.  In between, it was a gentle but constant dripping on everything.
  The night seems darker when it’s raining.  There’s no moon out, and the sky is so dark you can’t see the clouds.  The streets look like a poor abstract attempt to paint the reflected streetlight in them.  Since it’s darker than usual, it also seems later than usual.  It’s a warm night late in December, and it should be snowing.
  Instead, it just rains.  It won’t let up.  The rain is like an annoying coworker that you can’t get away from.  They just keep talking and talking, and telling you inappropriately intimate details about their fetishes.  After so much time has passed, you are used to it.  You accept it.  But you don’t condone it, and you certainly don’t like it.
  "Let me tell you about this German scat fetish chick I knew–" 
  It’s hard to see at night when driving, even when it’s not raining.  The rain adds another layer of difficulty to it.  When it’s raining, the night actually is inky.  The darkness seems to just spill over onto everything  The wetness makes every surface shiny, but it just reflects the blackness.  Street signs are hard to read, and house numbers are impossible.  The scant light is reflected from other surfaces that can’t be read either.
  Just like over a dozen times before on this very night, again I am standing on a front porch in the rain.  I have knocked.  And waited.  And knocked again, and waited.  As a last resort, I ring the doorbell, and I wait on the porch.  Porch–
  It’s more of a stoop.  Or a concrete landing, but there is no roof.  The overhang from the roof of the house aims the runoff right at my head.  It’s too warm to wear a coat, but the rain is too cool.  I wear two shirts, and both are wet. The windows in the car are fogged up from the steam of the pizzas.  Too warm to run the heat, but I can’t see without it to clear the windows.  I have the heat on, the defroster, and the windows open a few inches, which lets in more rain.
  I’ve waited longer than I usually wait, cursing to myself in a cadence that lets me time how much of my life I have wasted at this door.  When I get to "Son of a mother fucking bitch damn-shit," I’m going to knock again.
  As always happens lately, I’m reaching for my cell phone to call them when they answer the door.
  Well, she didn’t exactly "answer" the door.  First, she called out.  "Who is it?"  Except it sounded like one word.  "Whoizit?"  I know where this is going.  It’s already happened a dozen times before.  I don’t answer.  Fuck it, I’m already wet.
  Maybe I’m just cynical, but I have to believe they know who it is.  They called and ordered a fucking pizza for delivery forty five minutes ago.  Who the hell do they think it is, knocking on their door?
  I’m mostly deaf anyway, so I can act the rest of it.  And maybe–just maybe–if they would turn the porch light on when they order a pizza, they could look out the window and see who it is.  I know who I am.  I know who they are.  They’re the ones with the unanswered questions.  And I was the one with their pizza.  I knock again.
  A pair of dull eyes glance out through the blinds.  Were it I, maybe I would have done that first.
  So, now they know who it is.  It took several knocks to get them to acknowledge there was someone at the door.  Several more minutes of ignoring them so they would look for themselves.  Now they knew.  But no, they don’t open the door yet.  Another minute or so passes, and random, inexplicable noises emanate from within.  Finally, someone comes to the door.  They open the door.
  They open the inside door.  However, the storm door, the one I am still at, remains closed.  The inside door opens, and whoever opened it wanders away.  No porch light on, and no light on in the house, either.  After hearing someone call loudly for someone else very loudly, another person finally finds their way to the door.  I can only imagine that the house is very big–or it seemed that way because it was dark–and they got lost.  They are standing now in the doorway, but still the door is not open.  Slowly, painstakingly, they count through a handful of wadded-up bills.  The door opens a crack. 
  "How much is it."  They didn’t even ask it like a question, they just made a statement.
  Like I said, I’m already wet.  "Do you have a light to turn on, so I can see the total?"  Of course I knew the total.  But I sense they are doing this on purpose, so I’m going to stretch it out for them as long as I can.  The porch light goes on, then off, then the inside light goes on. then off.  Then the porch light is back on.  Because they live there and don’t know what switch is to what light?
  "Ah, that’s better."  I have on my cheery innocent customer service face, where I seem oblivious to how ignorant people are.  "Your total is $27.76."  I hand the pizzas over, and this sullen and dull-faced person hands me a handful of wrinkled bills.  They start to close the door, so I know we are done.  I turn my back, but I don’t say "thank you" yet.
  Not until I count the money.  A twenty, a five, and three ones.  Three.  Twenty-eight bucks on a 27.76 total.  I shake my head and walk to the car.  This has already happened several times to night, with surprisingly little variation.  I’m already wet.

1 Comment »

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  1. People suck dude!You and Detroit should move to Mansfield. We tip our pizza guys well.Also, we are only a few hours from the greater Detroit area. CLose for the visiting, you know.;)

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